A security officer at Shannon Airport believed that a life-jacket stolen from an Aer Lingus flight found in luggage was an improvised explosive device (IED).
Rohit Sharma (37), of Sunbury on Thames, Surrey, England, escaped a jail term after pleading guilty at Gort District Court, Co Galway, to stealing the life-jacket from the Aer Lingus London-Shannon flight on Tuesday.
Judge Patrick Durcan told Mr Sharma at Ennis District Court on Wednesday that a prison sentence was foremost in his mind and remanded the company director on bail to re-appear yesterday.
In court yesterday, India-born Mr Sharma said: "I have brought shame on the family and everyone. I am truly sorry for what I did."
An emotional Mr Sharma said that stealing the life-jacket "was a moment of madness".
Judge Durcan commented that it is clear that Mr Sharma "has been through 18 hours of total hell by virtue of his stupidity and criminality".
Earlier in court, senior security officer at Shannon Airport Pat Slattery said that a silent alarm went off on his phone at 12.10pm on Wednesday to alert him of a suspicious item found at the security check-in.
He said: "When I checked the X-ray machine the item looked like an improvised explosive device."
Judge Durcan fined Mr Sharma €1,000.